People

Current Labmembers:

Gerald Schwank
Group Leader
Gerald Schwank was a graduate student in Konrad Basler’s lab at the University of Zurich, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2009. As a postdoctoral fellow he joined the team of Hans Clevers at the Hubrecht Institute, where he established genome editing approaches in adult stem cell systems. Soon after, he started his own lab at ETH Zurich. While initially his team was dedicated to the establishment of genetic tools to study human disease mechanisms in stem cells and organoids, more recently they have focused on the development of in vivo genome editing approaches to cure monogenic diseases. In 2020 the Schwank lab has moved to the University of Zurich, where they continue to pursue their goal of generating novel genome editors and translating these technologies from bench to bedside.
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Desirée Böck
PostDoc
After finishing her Master’s degree in Medical Biotechnology in Vienna (2014), Desiree performed a PhD in Microbiology in the lab of Martin Pilhofer at ETH Zurich (2015-2019). In her PhD thesis she was studying bacterium-host interactions using the high-resolution in situ imaging technique cryo-electron tomography. Desiree joined our group in October 2019. Her work focuses on using base- and prime editing technologies to correct disease-causing mutations in the central and peripheral nervous system. She is supported by SNF Spark as well as the Novartis Freenovation program.
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Péter Kulcsár
PostDoc
Péter received his PhD from the Multidisciplinary Medical Doctoral School of the University of Szeged, Hungary in 2019. He worked in the laboratory of Dr. Ervin Welker at the Institute Enzymology of the Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Budapest, Hungary. He increased the applicability of high-fidelity SpCas9 variants by developing and characterising novel ones. Peter joined the Schwank lab in May 2023 and focuses on developing more efficient in vivo genome editing tools. His work is supported by the URPP Human Reproduction Reloaded Project (H2R).
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András Tálas
PostDoc
András received his PhD in Molecular Biology (Semmelweis University, Hungary) in 2021, working in the lab of Dr. Ervin Welker at the Research Centre for Natural Sciences in Budapest. During his PhD, András developed methods and approaches to increase and predict the efficiency of gene-editing enzymes. He joined the Schwank lab in April 2023, where he focuses on the development of next-generation genome engineering tools with directed evolution for the treatment of genetic diseases in vivo.
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Eleonora Ioannidi
PhD Student
Eleonora joined the Schwank lab in January 2021 as part of the URPP Human Reproduction Reloaded Project | H2R. Before, she conducted her master’s thesis (Biotechnology, ETHZ) at the Abudayyeh-Gootenberg lab at MIT in Boston, focusing on novel viral gene delivery systems and prime editing. Her PhD involves research on the capabilities and applications of new genome editing methods such as prime editing.
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Human Reproduction Reloaded Project
Lucas Kissling
PhD Student
Lucas received his Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Science (Department of Chemistry and Applied Bioscience) from ETH Zurich in 2020, where he joined the Laboratory of Jacob Corn for his Master thesis. In May 2020 he started his PhD in our group, where he will mostly work on in vivo modeling of disease mutations together with developing new base-editor tools.
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Kim Marquart
PhD Student
Kim received his Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Ulm in 2018. He conducted his Master thesis work at the Novo Nordisk Foundation (Copenhagen, Denmark) in the group of Helene Faustrup Kildegaard. Before joining our group as a PhD student in May 2019, Kim has gained insights into industry at Boehringer Ingelheim (Biberach, Germany) and Novartis (Basel, Switzerland). His PhD projects are about the systematic characterization and directed evolution of CRISPR/Cas9 based genome modifiers.
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Nicolas Mathis
PhD Student
Nicolas received his Master's degree in Biology (Molecular Health Sciences) from ETH Zurich in 2018, working in the laboratory of Sabine Werner. Before joining our group as a PhD student in August 2019, Nicolas gained insight into industry as a Postgraduate in Cell Line Development at Novartis (Basel). His PhD project is about the improvement of gene-editing tools with a focus on the correction of disease mutations and the novel Prime-editing technique.
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Lukas Schmidheini
PhD Student
Lukas received his Master’s degree in Biology (Molecular Health Sciences) from ETH Zurich in 2019, working in our laboratory. Since he could not let go of his exciting research, he joined our group as a PhD student shortly afterwards. His PhD project is about the improvement of gene-editing tools with a focus on applying state of the art directed evolution techniques.
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Priscilla Wang
PhD Student
Priscilla received her Master’s degree in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto, working in the laboratories of Alan Davidson and Sachdev Sidhu. Before joining our group, Priscilla gained insight into industry as a Senior Research Associate in Gene Editing Research at Vertex (Boston). Her PhD project aims to improve gene-editing tools with a focus on protein engineering and directed evolution.
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Yanik Weber
PhD Student
Yanik received his Master’s degree in Nanosciences from the University of Basel in 2020. After two projects in the laboratory of Michael Nash and Florian Hollfelder, he joined the group of Mustafa Khammash for his Master thesis to work on the directed evolution of optogenetic regulators. His PhD project involves the improvement of gene-editing tools through directed evolution.
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Tatjana Hänggi
Research Technician
Tatjana received her PhD from the UZH in 2004. In order to see more of Europe, she moved to London to work as a post-doc at the University College London. Her project focused on a gene therapeutic approach for seizure suppression in a rat model of focal neocortical epilepsy using HSV vectors expressing galanin. In 2019, she joined the Schwank group as a lab manager. In her free time, she enjoys the company of her husband and her two teenage sons.
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Silvan Estermann
Master Student
Silvan is enrolled in the Molecular and Cellular Biology master’s program at the University of Zurich. He joined the Schwank lab in January 2024 for his Master thesis and is working together with Andreas and Yanik on the directed evolution of RNA for in-patient CAR T-cell generation.
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Sasha Melkonyan
Master Student
Sasha is a Computational Biology M.Sc. student at BSSE department of ETH. He started his master thesis in March 2023, under the supervision of Lukas. They are applying high-throughput continuous directed evolution methods to optimise genome engineering tools.
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Saphira Müller
Master Student
Saphira is enrolled in a Biochemistry master's programme at the University of Zurich. She joined the Schwank lab in January 2023 to work together with Kim on novel genome editors. She seeks to leverage structure guided protein engineering and directed evolution to harness ancient RNA-targeted enzymes for genome editing in mammalian cells.
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Vittorio Sandri
Master Student
Vittorio is enrolled in the Cellular and Molecular Biotechnology MSc at Wageningen University and Research. He conducted his master thesis at the Bacterial Genetics department in the group of John van der Oost where he worked on the development of Prime Editors with alternative Cas nickases. He joined the Schwank lab in November 2023, where he works together with Yanik on the improvement of genome editing tools through directed evolution.
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Elina Villiger
Master Student
Elina is doing her Master's degree in Biomedicine at the University of Zurich. She joined the Schwank lab for her Master's thesis in January 2023 and is working together with Tanja on the improvement of novel genome editors with the goal to efficiently apply them for therapeutic gene-correction approaches.
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Olga von Niederhäusern
Administrative Assistant

Associated Labmembers:

Andreas Reichmuth
UZH Entrepreneur Fellow
After having worked on the first Lipid Nanoparticle encapsulated mRNA vaccines in the Langer Lab at MIT (2015), Andreas joined the group of Prof. Voros at ETH for his PhD (2016-2021). During his PhD, Andreas co-develop a novel biosensor platform themed ‘focal molography’. His work resulted in 4 patents and was fundamental for the foundation of the ETH spin-off Lino Biotech. In 2021, Andreas performed a first Postdoc in the laboratory of mRNA pioneer Dr. Steve Pascolo where he worked on trans-amplifying mRNA circular mRNA. Andreas joined our group in 2023. His work focuses on the targeted delivery of mRNA-encoded base- and prime editors using Lipid Nanoparticles.
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Sara Ferreira
Research Associate
Sara received her master’s degree in Health Sciences in 2021 from the University of Minho, working in immunometabolism and infectious diseases. Afterwards, she worked as a scientific associate in pharmacology immunology at Idorsia Pharmaceuticals, Basel. Currently she is working with Andreas to develop in-patient generation of CAR cell therapies.
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Alumni:

Cornelia Schwerdel
Research Technician
Jonas Mumenthaler
Master Student
Sharan Janjuha
PostDoc
Tanja Rothgangl
PhD Student
Claire Chabot
Research Associate
Tanav Damodharan
Master Student
Lisa Tidecks
Master Student
Sebastian Jossi
Master Student
Patrik Simmler
PhD Student
Elena Benvenuto
Master Student
Cristina Solari
Master Student
Nina Frey
PhD Student
Martina Hruzova
PostDoc
Tamara Mengis
Master Student
Sabina Egli
Research Technician
Lukas Villiger
PhD Student
Noëlle Bakker
Master Student
Christian Hirt
PostDoc
Till Ringel
PhD Student
Natasa Savic
PostDoc
Luca Isenmann
Research Associate
Femke Ringnalda
Research Technician